Summer: (———— loading ——>)
They say we earn our summer bodies in the winter. Cheers to all the hard work and here’s to the warm, sunny days of summer … flip flops, sunshine, vacations, beaches, lakes, and swimming pools!
I love the summer, but not the effects of chlorine from swimming pools. And while this isn’t intended to squelch the fun of hanging by the pool, I wish I had known these tips during the endless summers when I sported green, chlorine-spawned hair, and dry, chlorine-ravaged skin.
The Concerns with Swimming Pool Chemicals
The best swimming pools are those with no chemicals or chlorine. Some pools today use UV-filters and salt, and minimal to no chlorine, which is ideal. Many though, still use chlorine and other chemicals … and lots of them!
The powerful disinfection properties of chlorine and chemicals used to keep bacteria out of the pool will also strip your skin and hair of it’s natural oils, and will be absorbed into your body.
And if you’re not sure that your skin absorbs the things with which it comes in contact, or whether or not those things can enter your digestive system, try this:
Place a crushed garlic clove in your shoe and see how long it takes for you to taste it.
“Your body absorbs more chlorine, and more importantly disinfection byproducts (DBPs) [such as chloramine], by swimming in a chlorinated pool than you would by drinking tap water for one week. Disinfection byproducts are far more serious than chlorine. They from when the chlorine in your pool water reacts with organic matter such as skin and hair.”
Exposure to chlorine and other swimming pool chemicals has been linked to:
- Skin Irritation
- Eye Irritation
- Respiratory Irritation
- Digestive Disturbances
- Hormonal Disruption
- Gut Flora Imbalance
- Dry Skin
- Premature Aging
- Long term effects
And when chlorine comes in contact with sunscreen, sweat, bacteria, and other organic components of the skin, chloramine gases form and can lead to additional respiratory issues. This is especially prevalent when swimming indoors where the chlorine and chemical gases aren’t able to escape as easily. So opt for swimming outdoors when possible.
Oh, and chloramine also forms when chlorine comes in contact with ammonia from urine … providing the BEST reason NOT to pee in the pool! : )
Are You Pool-Ready?
You Don’t Need To Throw The Baby Out With The Pool Water!
Here are some tips to reduce your chlorine exposure when taking a dip in the pool.
Protect Your Hair Before You Swim
Dry hair absorbs more water than wet hair. So when your hair is dry, it will quickly absorb chlorine directly into the hair shaft. When your hair is wet, it is already saturated and will slow down the chlorine absorption. So it is best to wet your hair before you take a dip in the pool. And for extra protection, apply a thin layer of coconut oil to your hair which will act as a barrier to the chlorine without leaving any harmful residue in the pool.
You can also wear a swim cap, which is not the most fashionable accessory, but is about 99% effective for keeping your hair dry and the chlorine out. And because it’s not 100% effective, it’s still a good tip to wet your hair first with warm water and even add coconut oil, and then put it in the cap.
Protect Your Skin Before You Swim
Just like dry hair, dry skin will absorb more moisture than wet skin. So when strolling past the “Rinse Before Entering The Pool” sign, reconsider and rinse your body off before jumping into the pool. This will help saturate your skin, allowing less chlorine to be absorbed when swimming. Also apply a thin layer of organic coconut oil, (coconut oil article) which will create a barrier between your skin and the pool chemicals, with the added benefit offering some natural SPF protection.
Chlorine has the ability to strip the skin’s natural oils, called the “acid-mantle”, which protect the skin from contaminants and irritants. Applying coconut oil reinforces the skin’s acid mantle, and helps your skin combat the oxidative stress of the pool chemicals.
For Extra Benefits, Add Vitamin C
Before you take the plunge, mix a teaspoon of Vitamin C crystals into your coconut oil and apply the mixture to your skin.
Chlorine Removal After Swimming
Always rinse off after swimming. Then apply a mixture of Vitamin C crystals and purified water on your hair and body, and rinse off again. You can make your own as follows, or you can buy this one.
To make your own, mix together:
- 1 teaspoon Vitamin C crystals
- 1 pint water
- 1 spray bottle
What to do:
- Spray yourself all over
- Rub the mixture into your skin and hair
- Rinse off
Incidentally, this Vitamin C mixture is also an effective anti-sunburn spray for sunburned skin. You can also add Vitamin C crystals to your shampoo, soap, or shower gel. After rinsing, apply more coconut oil to moisturize and soothe your skin.
How about you? How do you combat chlorine and other swimming pool chemicals?
Grab a Floatie and Take a Dip!
The Pool Is Open!
(Photo Credit: weheartit.com)
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